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Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key
Glamdom. Adam Lambert/Tommy Joe Ratliff. NC-17. ~13,500 words. Western AU. For [livejournal.com profile] no_detective, because she is amazing and lovely, and bought me treats for Adam's birthday at hooplamagnet's charity: water drive. :3
Tommy Joe ambles into town half past noon on a Sunday.


*

Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key


Tommy Joe ambles into town half past noon on a Sunday. Like others of its ilk, it has one broad main street, dusty and deserted during service, a handful of smaller side streets and a whole heap of meandering footpaths cutting through the lot. Whatever scrap of charm in Still Creek, it's more than the scraggly peak where he spent last night had to offer. Clucking his tongue, he aims Bessie past the blacksmith's open forge to the saloon on the east side. With five days of hard riding between him and the last roof over his head, he's aching something fierce for a drink.

Outside the saloon with its covered porch and the great big sign above it too cracked and faded to read, he hitches Bess to the post and gives her flank a thankful pat. Her head already in the trough, she flicks one ear absently. "You and me both, girl," he says as he tugs free the bandana wrapped 'round his mouth and nose. He dips the dusty cloth in the trough on his way by, water spattering his boots as he uses it to clean up the dirt caked around his eyes. His steps thud hollowly on the wooden stair.

Relief from the sun comes the moment he steps inside. He hesitates on the threshold, basking as his eyes adjust to the sweet cool dim. As saloons go, it's neither the best nor the worst Tommy's ever seen. There's a long, well-stocked bar along one side, and a narrow stage along the other with a silent Fourneaux upright piano, both the piano and its empty bench scuffed up worse than the soles of Tommy's boots.

"Stomp your feet, fella," calls the guy behind the counter, reaching out to snag a tumbler from laden shelves, "and tell me what you'll have."

"Whiskey." Looping his damp kerchief around his neck, Tommy strides across the sturdy hardwood floor. "Good Tennessee whiskey."

Grinning, the guy pulls out a thick brown bottle from the forest of glass. His eyes crinkle at the corners, the smile lines around his mouth deepening. He's got short dark hair, the scruffy start of a beard, and a look like he's not had much cause in his life to frown. Tommy likes him instantly and drops a few coins onto the counter.

"That's a good bit of trust you got there," Tommy says when the guy scoops up the coins and pops them into his pocket without so much as a cursory glance before pouring out three generous fingers.

"No reason to believe you've come in here only to stiff me with a few shaved coins," the guy says. He sticks out a hand, introducing himself. "Monte."

In the middle of peeling off his gloves, Tommy drops one to the counter to take up the hello. "Joseph."

Monte's firm handshake falters. "Don't mind me saying, but you don't look much like the shepherding kind."

"No I don't," Tommy agrees. His ass is none to pleased about the trip over the mountains, so he keeps his feet while he savours his first sip. It's good stuff, heavy and smooth, and he takes another heartier mouthful before the first has hit his gut. "But you're a fucking saint."

Monte's laugh bursts out clear and loud. "Nor the church-going kind!" He shakes his head, laughing still, as he folds his arms on the counter. "Me either, if my being here at this time of day weren't a hint. You only passing through, Joseph, or planning on a night in the Creek?"

Scratching at an itch near his temple, Tommy nudges his hat up further, then says the hell with it and pulls the damn thing off. On another blissful sigh, he rakes his nails back through his hair, shaking off the longer strands clinging to his damp neck. He'd love for nothing more than one night in a proper bed. One with blankets, maybe a pillow even.

A spear of sunlight arrows into the gloom. "Monte," comes in a bark from the tall, broad-shouldered shadow taking up the doorway. The weight of the newcomer's attention settles on Tommy like a yoke. "Oh."

"Sheriff," Monte says, and nods in Tommy's direction. "Meet Joseph."

"Sheriff," Tommy echoes, tossing off a two-fingered salute in lieu of a tip of his hat.

As quick as it arrives, the look of confusion on the sheriff's face is gone again. "Adam," he corrects, hooking a finger in his belt as he strolls up to the counter. "Passing through, Mr. Joseph?"

A warning chill comes creeping in. This is not the first time Tommy's been asked to leave a town be, nor will it be the last. With a muttered curse for the bed he won't be sleeping in tonight, Tommy knocks back the remainder of his whiskey. "Guess I am." He raps his knuckles on the counter. "Thanks for the drink, Monte."

Monte's gaze leaps to Adam before he shrugs, nonchalant. "Anytime."

"I'm not running you out, Tommy Joe," the sheriff says, and Tommy's shoulders slump. He'd made good time across the mountains, but apparently not good enough. There's going to come a time sooner than he'd like that there won't be anywhere left east of California for him to be. "I'm only here to tell you there's a dust cloud coming up on the west, and to ask if it's anything I need to be concerned about."

"Fuck," Tommy spits. He jams his hat back onto his head. "If you're still left with a good deed to do for the day, don't tell 'em which way I've gone."

Before Tommy makes it a step, the sheriff's hand settles onto his arm. "I told you, I'm not running you out."

"That's not the law out there, Sheriff," Tommy says, shaking off his too-gentle hold. "And unless you want me to shoot a man dead in your fine town square, you'll get out of my way."

"You don't have to leave, and you don't have to shoot anybody," the sheriff insists, enough conviction in his gaze to give Tommy pause.

With a face shaved clean and bright blue eyes, the sheriff’s like no lawman Tommy's ever come across. He wears sincerity beside the tattered patch sewn into his sleeve, and that more than anything makes Tommy wonder what's in his head about what's going on here. Tommy's got a reputation, and it's not one that's ever endeared him sight unseen to a man with either a badge or a gun before.

Tommy meets the sheriff's gaze square on. "You know who I am?"

"I do," the sheriff says, looking for all the world like he wants to nail Tommy's boots to the floor.

"Then you know what's gonna happen here if you don't move your law-abiding ass."

From the banks of dusty windows near the front, Monte says, "Running out of time, Sheriff. Service'll be out soon."

"Unless you want to go out there with an excuse to lock that fella riding in up for a night, I'm gonna get gone," Tommy says, sidestepping the sheriff to make for the exit.

The sheriff's mouth thins down to a hard, stubborn line as he steps into Tommy's path. "If I do that, what happens in the morning?"

"Depends," Tommy says. To the eyebrow the sheriff hitches up, he offers a shrug. "Pray he doesn't catch up."

The sheriff says, "I could toss you in for the night," like it's an honest threat.

"Then he shoots me in the back first chance he gets. Either way, Sheriff, and sooner or later, somebody's gonna die. I'd rather it not be me."

Taking two long strides forward, the sheriff asks, "Why's he after you?"

"Adam," comes Monte's warning.

The sheriff ignores him. "Tell me."

"Honest truth?" Tommy says, the thick knot of nerves forming in his belly loosening his tongue. He needs to get out of here, and the last thing he wants is to go through the law standing smack in his way to do it. Whatever folks say about him, he's not a stone-cold killer. All he wants is to be left the hell alone. "I don't have the first fucking clue."

The rapid thud of a gallop rattles the windows. "Ratliff!" Jackson bellows over the squeal of his horse. "Tommy Ratliff, that's your nag I see out here, boy!"

"Fuck," Tommy breathes, closing his eyes briefly. "Fuck it all to hell."

Like the sheriff honestly thinks it's that easy, he says, "Don't answer."

"And what, let him shoot my girl out there? Don't think so. Get out of the way."

"Or what?" the sheriff says, staring down hard at Tommy. "Are you going to shoot me, too?"

"One in the foot won't kill you," Tommy says, and another sharp squeal from outside sends his heart leaping into his throat. That wasn't Jackson's poor beast that time. That was Bess. Ploughing a shoulder into the sheriff's belly, Tommy sends him stumbling off to the side and makes a break for it.

"Monte!" calls the sheriff, too late.

The sun explodes in Tommy's eyes. Dazed, he blinks wildly, searching for his girl. Jackson's by her head, one gloved hand twisting the reins of his beast sharply to control it, the other viciously twisting Bessie's ear while she kicks and squeals. "Jackson," he snarls, popping the snap on his holster open with his thumb before his vision's cleared. "Leave off, you worthless shit."

Smiling his smarmy, snake-slippery smile, Jackson nudges his mount away from Bessie, the hand not tangled in the reins raised innocently. "All I wanted was your ass out here, Ratliff."

Tommy takes the three steps down measured and slow. "You miss my pretty face that much?"

Real hate flashes across Jackson's face before he hides it with a false laugh. His attention jumps to the saloon door as the sheriff, one hand raised to shade his eyes, strides out into the sunlight.

Arms folded across his chest, the sheriff declares, "There is no gunfighting in my town."

"Now, see here, lawman," Jackson starts in, "Ratliff's done me a disservice, and it's my god-given right to retribution."

"No," the sheriff says, stepping down into the dirt, "it isn't. Not with a bullet. Bring your grievance to me and if it's a proper one, I'll see it's paid back. You've got my word on it."

Jackson's gaze swings back to Tommy. Even before his hand twitches toward his pistol, Tommy knows he's not going to take Adam's deal. Aces Jackson is what he goes by, and it wasn't any game of poker that earned him the name. He's a wild card, plain and simple. He's got no qualms about wading through the innocent to get what he deems owed, and even less again if there's a badge in his way. He'll shoot Adam dead where he stands.

"Son of a bitch," Tommy mutters, and draws, fires. His bullet goes wide, slamming into Jackson's shoulder and knocking him straight off his cocky perch in the saddle. A second, better-aimed shot takes off one of his fingers, and his pistol thumps into the bloodied dirt at his feet. Without a rider, Jackson's horse rears and takes off, plunging through the streets.

"Monte!" Adam shouts, running over to kick Jackson's gun away. He grabs up Jackson's uninjured arm, searching for a second pistol, finding it and two sharp knives. Tossing them both aside, he says to Jackson's cussing, "Shut up, it's your own damn fault."

Dumbly, Tommy watches as Monte comes out with a shotgun, slinging it cocked over his shoulder as he takes over trussing up Jackson's hands. By the time Adam's attention comes back round to Tommy, Tommy's dropped his gun back into his holster and raised his arms.

Genuine surprise colours Adam's face. "What are you doing?"

Straight up, Tommy has no idea. "You said no gunfighting in your town."

Anger edges out surprise. "And you didn't listen."

"No sir," Tommy says, lowering his hands, "I did not."

"Are you saying, Tommy Joe," Adam says, his eyes narrowed beneath the brim of his hat, "that you're going to let me take you in peacefully?"

"I shot a man." But didn't kill one. All too soon, that's going to come back to bite Tommy in the ass. He could've ended Jackson with that second shot. Could've, and didn't.

Adam stares at him for a long moment. "Monte," he finally says, "get that scum over to Miss Camila's for some doctoring. I'll send Isaac to give you a hand with him."

"Oh, that's alright, Sheriff," Monte says, his shotgun set down on the saloon's porch and Jackson's firearm in one hand. "Think I can handle this one."

With a quick nod to Monte, Adam lays a heavy hand on Tommy's shoulder. "Come with me. Don't worry about her," he says, following Tommy's quick glance to Bess. "No one will bother her in my town, and Lisa will be back from church in a few."

Taking Adam at his word, Tommy follows his lead around back of the saloon, across a wide patch of dirt with a barn on one side and a two-storey building on the other. During the short walk, after Adam takes both his revolvers and his promise that he's not carrying anything else, neither of them speak a word. For Tommy, this isn't anything new, but he has the creeping suspicion it's not the norm for Adam. The tension in Adam's shoulders, the hard set of his mouth, says there's something eating at him and it's taking everything he's got to keep it from spilling out.

"You should've let me go," Tommy says when Adam opens the door to the two-storey's ground floor, ushering him inside.

Adam doesn't say anything as he kicks an angled block of wood under the doorjamb to hold the door wide. He goes to a low table set against one wall and starts rustling through old crinkled pages.

Taking the time to size the place up, Tommy guesses official business goes on down here where there's a small cooking corner, a staircase leading up, and tucked in the back, a double set of cold iron bars. There's a squat wooden bunk built into the wall, complete with a flat pillow and a brightly-coloured blanket folded up at the foot. It looks so fucking inviting that if Tommy believed in heaven, he'd swear Jackson put a bullet in him out there and he's staring at the pearly gates right now.

"What?" Adam asks, turning back with a sturdy-looking keyring in one hand.

Quick as can be, Tommy grunts, "Nothing." Sad shit he is, being caught mooning over a bed like he's about to get his dick wet for the first time.

Giving him an odd look, Adam opens one set of bars, then the other. It's a near thing, but Tommy manages to stroll casually into the cell, sizing up his place for the night as iron clangs shut behind him. He turns back around, sliding his arms through the bars, hip cocked and ankles crossed.

"For a heartless killer," Adam says slowly, "you're awfully easy-going."

"For a lone sheriff marooned out in the middle of nowhere, so are you," Tommy counters with a smile.

Adam laughs. It's a good laugh, full-throated, pure bona fide delight. "You're not what I expected."

"Yeah?" Tommy says, and bites at the edge of one ragged nail. "Which is it, not enough guns, or not enough tart?"

"Neither." Adam's gaze lingers too long on Tommy's face, taking in more than the remains the dark brush of kohl around his eyes. When the mood strikes, he adds rouge to his cheekbones to sharpen them, paints his mouth in cruel blood-black. It never started out so severe, but as his reputation grew, so did his fondness for living up to it in appearance if not in deed.

Apparently not finding the answer he's looking for in Tommy's face, Adam gives another short laugh. "I'm not sure what I expected."

"I'll tell you what I expect," Tommy says, and aims a sly grin upwards at the questioning noise Adam makes. "As a cooperative prisoner, I expect a warm meal and a shot of something hard down my parched throat."

Adam's lips part on a sharp intake of breath. Whatever it was in Tommy's words that startled him, he shakes it off with a quick rueful smile. "I'm not much of a cook. I've got some bread, and a bit of pork roast. It's not bad on toast with some cheese melted over it."

Tommy's mouth floods wet, and this time he doesn't even try to hold back a moan. He slumps against the bars. "That sounds fucking amazing."

"Cheese might be mouldy," Adam warns, shuffling back the few steps to the tiny kitchen, his gaze on Tommy the whole time.

"Sheriff," Tommy says gravely, "I've lived on jerky, dirt and luck for the past week."

"Pork roast melt it is," Adam says, finally turning around.

Tommy watches while he fires up the black cast-iron stove, and answers questions while he cooks, all of them casual, skirting around who Tommy's rumoured to be and what happened out in the square such a short time ago. Why he asks, or why Tommy answers, is a mystery. It definitely isn't as if Jackson's off Tommy's back now, or once he finally is, that there isn't and endless line-up of scum to take his place. If anything, Tommy's in more trouble now than he was this morning. He knows damn well better than to wound a rabid animal.

What he doesn't know is what to do with a sheriff that doesn't run him out of town, or with one who serves up the first hot supper he's had in over a week, or who stares so intently at him he feels like a broken watch needing to be pieced back together.

As Tommy settles down with twilight barely edging over the horizon, a blanket tucked up close around his chin and the quiet sounds of Adam moving around upstairs, a creeping warmth not from the tin cup full of bourbon Adam handed through the bars takes up residence in his belly.

*


Morning brings glass-sharp sunlight arrowing in through the tiny window and the clunk of a key in the lock. Tommy scrunches deeper under the blankets, ignoring both. If Adam wants him out of this bed, he's gonna have to drag him out with a whole herd of wild horses.

"Tommy Joe," Adam says from the doorway. As Tommy stubbornly stays silent, wishing like hell he'd go away and come back with breakfast in two hours, quiet footsteps move closer. When he speaks again, it's from a crouch beside Tommy's head. "Don't think I believe for one moment you're not awake, Tommy Joe. Look at me."

Heaving a sigh, Tommy pushes down the blankets. "Happy?" he croaks.

A smile ghosts across Adam's face. "No. I owe you an apology."

Scrubbing at his eyes, Tommy swings his legs over the side of the bunk to sit up and haul on his boots. "Letting a man oversleep's not a crime, Sheriff."

Calm and even, Adam says, "Jackson tried to lame your horse last night. Isaac ran him off before he could do anything permanent, but she'll be sore in the hoof for a couple days at least."

Before Tommy's heart has much chance to jerk in his chest, it settles back down again. A bum leg isn't anything Bessie deserves, and it ticks him the hell off, but she's come through worse. He drags a hand back through his hair. "My fault for leaving her out there," he says. He'll have blisters of his own before the day's out to pay for fooling himself into thinking a night behind bars meant he'd be safe. Rooting around under the thin pillow for his shirt, he starts tugging it on. "I'll give Isaac a proper thanks on the way outta town."

As Adam straightens up, his gaze slides down to follow Tommy's fingers doing up the line of buttons. "He won't take your money. And he probably won't let you take your horse."

"She's not some stray to claim," Tommy says, standing up. "Fine if he doesn't want pay, but he's not keeping Bess for his trouble."

"You don't have to leave," Adam says, falling back to let him step out of the cell, following as he moves to the corner where his holster is hung on a peg jammed into the wall, seemingly content to let him reclaim his arms without comment. "On foot you won't get far, and dragging a half-lame horse behind you won't do either you or her any favours."

Leaving the holster where it is, Tommy turns around, arms folded. First Adam doesn't run him clear out of town like every other lawman before, and now this? The guy's crazy. "Sounds like you're offering sanctuary, Sheriff."

Adam shrugs. "Better here than alone out there."

"Until somebody else gets it in his head to put a bullet in me. Maybe not one of your townspeople," Tommy adds in as thunderclouds start to gather on Adam's face, "but somebody. They'll figure out where I am soon enough with Jackson out there flapping his jaw."

When Adam opens his mouth, Tommy can see the question ready to leap off his tongue. A slight pause, barely a hitch, and Adam says, "Three days," instead. "Three days for Bess to heal, and for you to rest."

Which leaves Tommy with the same question he's been asking himself since Adam walked into the saloon. But like last night, he pushes it aside. "No promises until I see my girl."

"Fair enough," Adam says, with a look in his eyes like he already knows he's won.

*


At the smithy, Isaac, a guy built like a stick with layers of ropy muscle and sinew, is focused on his work, barely glancing up from the steady rhythm of hammer on blazing steel to acknowledge Adam's greeting. Adam leads the way round the back to a small corral where Bess has her head stuck in a bag of oats, firmly ignoring the stallion keeping his distance on the other side.

With a grin, Tommy gives her flank a solid pat. "That's my girl." Muscle quivers beneath his touch, all the hello he's going to get while she's got a rare treat to enjoy, and he drops into a crouch, hand sliding down her hind leg where she's missing a shoe. She lifts her foot easily, snorting when his gentle touch moves from the edge along the sole and up over the frog.

Thumbs hooked in his belt, Adam watches as he moves around to check each foot before finally coming back to where Jackson tried to lame her. The hole left behind by the nail Isaac pulled out is at a rough, improper slant. If it hadn't been caught, Tommy would've gotten only a few hours out of town before it irritated Bess enough to hobble her. He would've been easy pickings.

"Jackson is a motherfucking pissant," Tommy spits, setting Bess's hoof carefully down, "and I should've put a hole in his thick skull."

"No arguments on that first part there," Adam says, and stays where he is as Tommy comes around to face him. Waiting.

Of all the reasons why Tommy should get gone, the sheriff is probably the best one. Anybody with this much interest in him can't be good. But whatever angle Adam's working, he can't see it. Bringing him in would put a fine shine on Adam's career, and if that's what Adam's doing here, he's going about it in the strangest way Tommy's ever seen.

"Two days," Tommy finally says slowly.

"Two days," Adam agrees, that same triumphant light flaring bright in his eyes. "And you stay with me."

Tommy barks a short laugh. "Worried I'm gonna rob somebody blind?"

"Worried you'll slip off without saying goodbye," Adam corrects, smiling. "I'll go tell Isaac to take his time with Bess's new shoe."

*


The first place Tommy heads is Monte's saloon. He doesn't invite Adam, but the sheriff comes along anyway, chattering about the day five years ago when Monte rolled into town to buy it first thing from the previous sour-faced owner. Since then, he and his wife, Lisa, have had twin girls, and Adam talks about them like he loves them, like he's in awe of them, and like he lives in constant terror of the day they realise how wrapped around their little fingers he is.

Since Tommy figured it out all of a day after meeting Adam, he's pretty sure the girls already know.

"What?" Adam asks, turning white as a sheet beneath a riot of sun-kissed freckles when Monte agrees with Tommy's casual observation. "No."

Taking pity on him, Tommy slides his half-finished whiskey into Adam's hand. "Sorry, Sheriff. 'Fraid it's true."

"Doomed from the start," Monte says, sliding a fresh drink across the counter to Tommy. Inside the saloon is cool and dark, the air thick with decades of spirits and smoke sunk into the wood. It eases the worst of the nagging drive to get back out to the wild biting at Tommy. Unlike big cities, towns don't bring as much trouble down on Tommy's head, but it doesn't matter. Eventually, trouble with a six-shooter in hand will find him. It always does.

Around noon, most of the town's other menfolk wander in through Monte's doors, and Monte drifts off to keep the booze flowing alongside the beef, bread and gravy Lisa serves up to the few who want something heavier in their stomachs. When she comes round with a plate for Adam, she plunks a second in front of Tommy, unasked.

"I've got coin, ma'am, and I'm thankful," Tommy says, gripping his glass tighter to keep from digging in bare-handed, "but I'm not that flush."

Lisa picks up the bottle of whiskey Monte broke out for Tommy and tops up his drink. "Consider it thanks for not giving that bastard a chance to shoot at my husband, and pay next time."

Nodding quickly, Tommy grabs up the hunk of bread still hot from the oven and sops it through the gravy, moaning in shocked delight when sharp southern spices hit his tongue. He mumbles more heartfelt thanks through another mouthful.

Adam leans close to confide, "Praise her cooking like that, and she'll have you fat as a hen by fall."

"I'll let her," Tommy groans, licking gravy off his thumb before picking up a fork and spearing a chunk of roast. It melts as rich as a king's fare on his tongue. He goes back for more, washing it down with the water Lisa brings by on her way along, and Adam lapses into companionable silence as they eat, offering a few words here and there when he can't seem to help himself.

By the time Tommy's done, and Lisa's refused to let him say no to a small plate of seconds, his belly is aching. He can't stop grinning. Even though there are hours left 'til sundown, all he wants is to crawl into his tiny cell bunk and sleep until tomorrow.

"No reason why you can't," Adam says, strolling along beside him. "Miss Camila's asked me to come round, but you're free to do as you like."

Tommy arches a brow. "I thought you were keeping an eye on me."

"Keeping you company." At the start of the path that leads back to the jail, and Adam's home, Adam stops. "It's not the same thing at all."

"Guess not." Tommy tucks his hands into his pockets. Someone on their way to the general store tosses Adam a friendly wave. Not for the first time, Tommy feels silly for wandering through Adam's town with a gun on each hip. From the way Adam carries his, the only time it clears its holster is to shoot tin cans off fences for sport. "Might go to the blacksmith's," he says, and jerks his chin over his shoulder toward Adam's place, "if I'm not there when you get back."

Adam's smile outshines the sun.

*


Long hours later, Tommy wakes to the warm glow of an oil lamp holding the night at bay. He's groggier than he was that morning, warm and slow with so much good drink and even better food in him. The idle scratch of Adam's pencil goes silent as Tommy sits up, blanket pooling in his lap.

"I thought maybe you'd decided to pass on," Adam says, aiming a smile his way through the open cell door. Tommy's never met a man that smiles as often, or as freely, as Adam. "You sleep like the dead, Tommy Joe."

No, he really doesn't. He woke when Adam came home, when the kettle boiled, half a dozen times through the afternoon and into the evening. What had been strange is how easily he dozed off each time with the constant quiet noise of another living body so close by. He scratches at the stubble on his chin, follows an itch down over his throat to his bare chest as he tries to figure out what he thinks of this bizarre quirk.

"Hungry?" Adam asks, tossing a meaningful glance at an old sooty pot sitting on the small stove. "Lisa sent over some blackened beans and fresh flat bread."

Tommy's not hungry by any means, not the way he's come to know the word, but his stomach clenches hopefully. "I could eat," he says, and climbs sluggishly out of bed. At the cell door he pauses, grabbing onto the low bar above his head and stretching his back out until it gives a satisfying pop. Sighing lustily, he hitches his jeans back up on his hips and moves on over to the stove, opening the cupboard beside it to fish out a shallow bowl. "You want some?"

When Adam doesn't answer, Tommy turns around to face him. Adam's too busy staring to notice the eyebrow Tommy hitches up in question, and Tommy looks down, wondering what the hell's got him so tongue tied. For an outlaw, Tommy hasn't got much in the way of scars. He doesn't get into many fights. But he ends them.

"Adam?"

"No, thanks," Adam says quickly. "I ate earlier." After Tommy nods and turns back to the oven, he says, casual as can be, "Had a look around while I was out, did you?"

"'Course," Tommy says. "If I'm gonna be your houseguest for two more days, gotta be able to serve myself." He spoons up an overgenerous helping, weighs the room he's got left in his belly against it, and sadly puts about a quarter back into the pot. "I didn't poke around upstairs, if that's what you're asking."

"There's not much up there."

"Still, didn't go looking." Grabbing a spoon out of the little cup on a shelf, Tommy brings his supper over to join Adam, making sure to keep a polite distance from the books and papers Adam's been pouring over for the last half hour.

"Town ledger," Adam says, noticing. Not much seems to slink by Still Creek's sheriff. "The dry seasons makes everybody nervous. I don't know how me keeping this thing updated is supposed to help, but it makes them feel better."

"Sometimes, that's all a man needs," Tommy says. The second the words leave his mouth, he stuffs it full of bread. He didn't mean what that sounded like.

But Adam only laughs, and shares another smile.

Swallowing hard, Tommy tries, "I was wondering where this creek might be."

"In somebody's fondest dreams, I'm sure," Adam says, wry twist to his mouth. "There's a stone-dry riverbed half a mile north that floods in the rains."

The last thing Tommy's interested in is local geography. He nods anyway, hoping to keep Adam talking. But for the first time since they've met, Adam doesn't seem to have much to say. Glancing up from his meal, Tommy raises his eyebrows.

"I didn't think you'd stay," Adam says, a hint of wonder in his tone.

Tommy drops his gaze. After a moment's silent debate, he gets up, goes over to put what's left of his supper back into the pot. There are a few dishes soaking in a battered tin pan on the floor beside the stove, so he leans down, adds his to it. Adam's attention is a heavy weight at his back the whole time.

"I've been asking myself why," Tommy says, "and no matter which way I turn it, I can't figure you out."

"Me?" Adam blurts, as if he's honestly surprised he's the confusing one here.

"Yeah. You." Tommy hooks a thumb in his pocket. Adam's gaze darts down, back up again. "You know you should've run me out."

"Bullshit," Adam snaps.

Tommy shrugs. "Would've been the smart thing to do. I'm trouble."

"Why are you trouble?" Adam asks, and shakes his head at Tommy's bitter laugh. "I mean it. In all the stories that come through here, you're always trouble, but nobody says why. Seems to me you spend most of your time trying to stay out of it, not get in it."

"You keeping me around 'cause you're curious, Sheriff?"

"That's why I didn't ask you to leave, not why I asked you to stay." Slumping back in his chair, Adam tosses his pencil aside.

Uneasy silence settles in. Tommy scrubs a hand over the back of his neck. Even with only embers burning in the stove, the room's stuffy, close. Striding to the front door, he pulls it open, lets the quiet evening come rushing in cool over his skin. People gave up asking him a long time ago why he does the things he does. To a lot of them, the fact that he does them is reason enough.

Eyes closed to the moonlight, Tommy says, "Couple years ago, this jackass decided he didn't like my face, so he figured on grinding it into the dirt for me. I hadn't done a damn thing to him. But he slapped me around, and I fucking punched him back, and next thing I know, I'm outside staring down the barrel of a gun." Cold, black and dark, and the first time it'd scared the living daylights out of him. He remembers the sun beating down on his shoulders, and the icy slide of sweat down his back. "I got lucky. He missed, I didn't. Wasn't a good hit, though. Gut-shot. The whole time he's down there squirming in the dust, he's railing on me about my pretty face, how he's gonna mess it up for me, do me the favour of making me look like a real man."

Break your nose, boy, ruin that mollycoddle face, runs in a shiver down Tommy's spine. He forces his grip on the door to loosen, pausing to catch his breath, push away the immediacy of the memory. Adam doesn't say a word. Tommy's not sure if he's disappointed or not. This shit isn't anything he wants to talk about, but he's started now. If Adam wants him to, he'll finish it.

Turning around, Tommy props his shoulder on the doorjamb, gestures at the dark powder lingering around his eyes. "I never used to do this. A few times, when I played in big city cathouses, the girls had fun messing around with me while I was too drunk to care, and sobered up it's not as if I gave a damn about some paint on my face. That fella, he didn't like it. So before he's done dying, I got one of the girls to paint my lips for me, and I kissed him goodbye. Right here," he says, tapping his cheek. "Turned out nobody cared for the guy, so the local law ended up tossing him in a hole a few miles outside town with my mark still on his face. Somebody else heard about it, didn't like me getting all uppity, and figured he'd finish teaching me the lesson that jackass started. He got a bullet and a kiss, too."

Adam remains silent, watching with shuttered eyes, and Tommy shrugs. "That's it. Now I wear it 'cause I like it, and if it pisses some bastard off, that's his problem, not mine."

"Is that what riled Jackson up?" Adam asks quietly. In the lamplight, his eyes are shadowed. "Your pretty face."

Tommy's grin is fast and fierce. "Losing to me in an outside straight draw didn't help any."

When Adam pushes away from the table, comes closer, Tommy stays where he is. With less than two feet between them, Tommy has to look up to meet his gaze. This time it's a shiver of heat rushing beneath Tommy's skin, prickling all along his back where the cooler air hits him. He watches, and he waits, and he thinks he knows why Adam asked him to stay. Another shiver chases after the first when Adam reaches out.

"It's chill," Adam says, reaching beyond Tommy to ease the door shut. It forces Tommy forward a step, close enough for him to breathe in the scent of sunlight and clean sweat lingering on Adam's skin. Like this, with bare inches separating them, it'd be easy for Tommy to feel small, vulnerable. Adam's a tall, broad-shouldered man, and even if Tommy isn't weak by any means, Adam's got weight and leverage on his side. Of all the things Tommy's feeling, threatened sure as hell isn't one of them.

When Adam doesn't move away, but doesn't move any closer, Tommy asks, "Why'd you want me to stay?"

"Why didn't you leave?" Adam counters.

"Better here than alone out there," Tommy says. Even while he says the words, though, he doesn't believe them. When Bess is healed up, when he's had enough off this small town and its nosy, gorgeous sheriff, he'll be gone. The longer he stays here, the closer the men on his tail.

"Goodnight, Tommy Joe," Adam says, and doesn't even touch him before he leaves, tread heavy on the stairs.

Tommy slumps back against the door, breathing hard. A strange, sharp tingle lingers in Adam's wake, charging the air like the rise of a storm. Tommy knows what Adam wants now. He would've let Adam take it, too. He would've done everything Adam wanted, and a hell of a lot more. The question left ringing in his head this time around is why Adam didn't even try.

*


The next day, Tommy sits on the saloon's front porch with his old guitar in his lap, tuning strings while that question turns round and round inside his head. If he wants answers, the easiest thing to do is ask for them. What he doesn't know is what answers he's looking for. Something quick, dirty, and meaningless would be best. The thought doesn't bring any satisfaction. Adam might be good for quick, and Tommy gets the feeling he wouldn't be at all opposed to dirty, but meaningless is a lost cause. Adam is the type of guy to find meaning in everything.

The saloon's door swings open, framing Monte in shadow and sunlight. "My wife wants to know why you're skinning that poor cat."

"Apologies to the missus," Tommy says through a quick grin. "Tell her to give me a minute more and she won't be sorry."

"It's not actually all that bad," Monte says, wiping his hands off in a towel. "Mostly I think she wants to know if you're any good, and if you're playing tonight."

Tommy plucks out a short chord. Better already. "Tonight?"

"It's Tuesday," Monte says, as if that's explanation enough. At Tommy's obvious confusion, he frowns. "Adam didn't mention?"

"Seems not."

"He said he was going to ask you last night," Monte mutters, then waves a hand. "Anyway, apologies and pardons on his behalf. Isaac figured you for a musician when he collected Bessie, saw your instrument. Every other Tuesday, we take turns amusing the townsfolk. Me, Adam, Isaac and Miss Camila. Piano and guitar, mostly, but it's a good time, and people trek in to pour my whiskey down their throats and their coins into my pockets. We thought you'd like to join us."

Pressing his hand flat to the strings to still them, Tommy asks, "Do I get a few of those coins?"

Monte looks unimpressed. "Are you any good?"

For an answer, Tommy strums out one of his old favourites, a rowdy, bawdy song that doesn't need the lyrics to bring up a laugh from deep in Monte's chest. He starts thumping his heel along to the beat, and when Tommy finishes with a flourish, claps him on the shoulder.

"Don't play that one 'round Adam," Monte says, climbing back to his feet with a smile firmly on his face. "No one needs to be giving him any ideas."

After Monte disappears inside, Tommy says, "Too late," and goes back to wondering what he's going to do about Adam and his ideas.

*


By the time night rolls around, Tommy still doesn't have any answers. Adam had said he'd be heading straight for the saloon after his ride to the outlying farms, so Tommy is hunched over Adam's table with the oil lamp pulled close, a battered compact in one hand and a black eye pencil in the other. The sun's been down for a good two hours now, and the noise from the saloon means the night's in full swing. Unfamiliar nerves twist tight in his belly as he darkens the line around his lashes a touch more. Pulling back, he sizes up his handiwork.

He wasn't going to do the whole thing. Not the whorehouse-red lips or the rouge on his cheekbones, or the stain on his eyelashes that darkens them, adds length that they don't need to brush his cheeks. But this is who he is. Either this is part of what Adam wants, or it'll wake him up long enough to realise that nothing good's going to come of Tommy being here.

When Tommy walks into the saloon, nothing so dramatic as the music screeching to a halt as dozens of wide eyes fix on him happens. A low murmur sweeps through the crowd, more than one pair of eyes turn his way, but on the stage, Monte, Isaac, and a woman that must be Miss Camila play on, and most of the patrons keep clapping along in time. As he makes his way to the bar, and Adam's side, more and more people turn his way, curiosity and fear on more than a few faces, an eager thrill at seeing the man the town's been gossiping about since Sunday.

"You know how to make an entrance," Adam says softly, leaning close to be heard over the din.

"I'm better at making exits." Tommy raps his knuckles on the counter, and one of the boys he's seen around skitters down, a whiskey already poured up before Tommy has a chance to do more than blink. With a lopsided smile, he salutes the kid with his glass. The kid stares at him wide-eyed and shocked and takes off seconds later at somebody's impatient bellow.

"And leaving impressions," Adam adds. "Are you going to play for me?"

Whiskey burns raw down the back of Tommy's throat. "For you?"

"Yeah," Adam says, standing up to join in the applause as the song finishes. "I sing."

Tommy stares. With a wink, Adam makes for the stage. He gives Isaac a quick one-armed hug and takes the guitar Monte holds out, turning to pin Tommy with an expectant stare.

"Jesus," Tommy says, and downs the rest of his drink in one swallow.

*

O Mary Don't You Weep

*


Tommy's not drunk. In the last five hours, he's had four drinks, and he strongly suspects Lisa watered down the last. He hasn't gotten drunk on three-and-a-half whiskeys since his fucking balls dropped.

Pressed close to Adam's side on the way back from the saloon, midnight long gone and sinful, dark hours creeping in, he feels drunk. There's a buzzing under his skin, in his brain, a heat in his belly he can't ignore the same as he can't get Adam's voice out of his head. The things Adam sang and the way he sang them, the anticipatory hush that fell as the first words slunk through the air, the delightedly scandalised roar when Adam mocked old Mr. Satan with a hand on his cock and a filthy pump of his hips.

Lust flares so hot, so sudden at the memory, that Tommy's steps falter. He grabs tightly onto Adam's belt, swinging around in front of him to bring them both to a stumbling halt. "You should do it anyway," he says, no thought given.

This time, Adam's smile isn't bright, welcoming. This time when it curves his lips, it's slow and sensuous, purely wicked. It brings a noise bubbling up the back of Tommy's throat that he has to fight to swallow. "Do what, Tommy Joe?"

Rougher than Tommy intends, too much honest need in it, he says, "You should fuck me."

The lust coiling tight in Tommy's belly hits Adam harder than a payroll express careening off the tracks. It shows in his eyes clear as daylight, in the way his hands tighten on Tommy's hips, drag him in so he can feel everything Adam's got to offer. Tommy's mouth drops open on that ragged noise he couldn't swallow and fists a hand in the back of Adam's shirt. He's not drunk, but maybe he damn well should be.

"I thought I'd kiss you first," Adam says, still too far away to make good on it. "If you'd like to kiss a man that isn't dead for once."

Tommy thinks about kissing Adam, about how the paint on his lips is rubbed down to the stain, what it would be like to leave a different mark on Adam's skin. It isn't anything he hasn't thought of before. Though it isn't anything he's done before, either. But he wants. "Is that all you're offering?" he challenges, and knows it's a devilish thing to do.

Adam makes a rough noise of his own. "Come on," he says, starting off in a walk closer to a run. "I want to get you inside."

That feeling like staring down the barrel of a gun comes rushing in, all heat and anticipation. Sweet and scary, dangerous and thrilling. The short distance to Adam's passes in a blur, time tripping over itself right up until the door closes and Tommy's back hits it, Adam pressed up against him in one long, unbroken line from knee to hip. Tommy bucks against the pressure on instinct, nearly losing his footing when dynamite pleasure explodes inside him, and there's no hope of holding back the sounds that want to come pouring out of him.

"Fuck," Adam breathes, and Tommy's eyelashes flutter shut, not strong enough to take all the ways Adam means that and the look of naked want on Adam's face, too. Fingers tangle in his hair, force his head up. "Do you want me to kiss you?"

"I want you to fuck me," Tommy says, scrabbling at Adam's belt, yanking it out of the way so he can get at buttons, rip them open. "You need to get your cock out and fuck me."

Adam pushes Tommy's arm aside, slams it back against the door and pins it there. Tommy's insides swoop alarmingly, syrup-thick and dizzying. He doesn't have time for all this talking, god damn it.

"Just tell me yes," Adam says, harsh as a curse, still pleading, desperate.

Tommy twists against Adam's grip. He could get free but he doesn't want to, not badly enough to risk hurting Adam in the process. His heart stutters, skipping beats, even though he's right where he wants to be. He thought this would happen faster. He thought he'd be bent over the table seconds after making it through the door, that Adam wouldn't be able to wait to be buried inside him.

"Yes," come tumbling out of him, unchecked, and Adam's mouth is on his, opening him up to the slick push of tongue the same as he imagines Adam's cock will push into him. Muscles clench as he thinks about it, can't stop thinking about it, driving him crazy as he sucks on Adam's tongue, tries to make Adam's breath stumble over what else they could do with their mouths. He doesn't get very far before Adam's thumbs curve along his jaw, taking control to make it sweeter and dirtier all at once, promising things that tighten Tommy's entire body with need.

Breaking off, Adam says, "Upstairs," with their lips still touching, bumping together in brief mock kisses. "I'm not sleeping with you in that tiny bed."

"Not planning on much sleeping," Tommy says, stealing one more lick into Adam's mouth, tasting bourbon and spice. Still, when Adam backs up to let him free, he trots up the stairs as fast as his unsteady legs will carry him.

At the top, boots kicked aside and shirt half off, he pauses. There are things everywhere. Random books, piles of crinkled sheet music, trunks and cases overflowing, instruments and knick-knacks and clothes, and on and on and on. The bed is pushed up against the far wall, and Tommy picks his way cautiously through the moonlit clutter to it, sitting down with his shirt hanging off his elbows, staring.

Adam isn't far behind him. "Pardon the mess," he says, sheepish. "I honestly wasn't expecting company. Hoping, but not expecting."

"It doesn't matter," Tommy lies. All of this makes him ravenously curious. He wants to pick through it all, dig out pieces of who Adam is and take his time turning them over in his hands, studying them. He hadn't thought much about Adam beyond the obvious. There hadn't been a point. There still isn't one, but it's another want layered on top of all the others.

Adam says, "I was expecting you to be naked," a touch of humour in it suggesting this is an escape route if Tommy wants one.

"I was waiting for you," Tommy says, another lie and another truth all at once. Shrugging his shirt the rest of the way off, he scoots further back onto the bed and settles down, one hand tucked beneath his head, the other tucked close to his fly, a much better suggestion than Adam's.

Adam doesn't take the bait right away. He moves through the mess quickly and easily, lighting a lamp on a low wash vanity on the other side of the room, then the one on the windowsill beside the bed. When he turns around, he looks for a long time at the stretch of Tommy laid out on his bed, everything he's thinking showing on his face. Tommy's not sure what to think, so he pops the button on his jeans, waits.

"You're gorgeous," Adam says, and it doesn't ring false, or trite, not something rote to say to the man about to warm his sheets. Like everything Adam says or does, he means it, the same as he means the slight tremble to his hand when he palms Tommy's side, the way his grip evens, firms, as it slides down, hooks in the waistband of Tommy's jeans to drag them off the second they're undone. Adam barely stops to pull off his own shirt once Tommy's naked before crawling on top of him on hands and knees, staring down the length of him to where his cock rests heavy and full above the crease of his thigh. "Are you going to complain again if I suck you first?"

"Fuck no," Tommy says, clutching at Adam's shoulder to keep from jerking off, ending this before it really begins. "You can do anything you want to me."

A pause, and then Adam says, "Almost," the tail end of the word lost in a kiss pressed to Tommy's chest. He takes his time on his way down, like they have all year for him to reach Tommy's cock, and then he sucks on the head like he plans on taking another to learn every little thing about it, its shape and texture and how he can make Tommy twist and moan with the smallest flick of his tongue. Tommy's grip slides to his hair, wanting to force but waiting, pure fucking torture waiting for Adam to open wide and take it all. And when Adam does, sucks him hard and deep and fast, Tommy clamps down on a high-pitched whine, face flaring hot as he starts trembling worse than a newborn colt.

Adam's ragged moan turns into a harsh curse as he pulls off. "Tommy," he says, nuzzling low between Tommy's thighs, urging Tommy's knees to bend, spread for him, "fuck, Tommy, your face isn't the only pretty thing about you." He sits back on his haunches, shuffling closer with a hand on both of Tommy's thighs, pressing them wider, guiding one of Tommy's legs up to rest of his shoulder. "Look at you."

Look at him, flat on his back with his legs in the air, and a man he barely knows between them. Listen to him fucking moaning for the dry brush of a fingertip over his hole, then louder again for when it comes back wet, circles and presses but doesn't slide in. He hitches his hips up, asking for it, but Adam's hand falls away.

"Don't stop," Tommy grunts, folded up awkwardly as Adam stretches out above him toward the head of the bed, picking up what turns out to be a jar with a dented tin lid off the floor. He gets a glimpse of the shiny petroleum jelly inside and breathes, "Oh."

Adam has dozens and dozens of smiles, and Tommy enjoys them all, especially this sly quirk to his mouth like he's laughing as he dips his fingers into the jar, brings them back to run them slippery and smooth along the crack of Tommy's ass. He doesn't tease for long, a handful of seconds that winds Tommy up even more, and then he's pushing up and in with one finger, the easiest sin Tommy's ever fallen into.

"God," Adam murmurs as Tommy's body clutches tight when he pushes deeper, loosens again as he drags free. The second time he slides in, Tommy does it deliberately, driving a shaking moan out of the pit of his own stomach as Adam's finger crooks, presses firmly against sensitive, tender flesh, a place nobody has any business touching but makes his toes curl, and he wants more of it, everything Adam has to give.

Gulping air, Tommy drags his other leg up, hooks it over Adam's shoulder. Adam groans something that might be a word, maybe his name, and bends down to kiss him, fingers working in time to the push of his tongue. A second finger flirts at his hole and he breathes out, signalling Adam to do it, do it now, and it's the tight bunch of three fingers barely opening him up instead, a thrilling, aching burn.

Turning to press a kiss to the inside of Tommy's knee, Adam says, "Turn over."

Tommy blinks blurry vision back into focus. He nods without thinking, easing over onto his belly when Adam backs off. The pillow smells like Adam and he buries his face in it as Adam settles down over him, warm, heavy weight pinning him to the thick mattress. His heart's going at a panicked gallop, adrenaline burning through his veins urging him to run, fight, do something. He turns away from the pillow, struggling to breathe as he edges his knee higher on the bed, the spread of his legs inviting Adam to sink inside him.

And then Adam says, "Baby," and Tommy laughs, startled.

"I'm not," Tommy says, glancing at Adam over his shoulder. "I'm the furthest thing from your sweetheart."

"You could be," Adam says, and anything Tommy's got in response dies on a slow hiss as his body opens to the steady push of Adam's cock. "You said I could do anything to you," Adam goes on, his voice not as sure as he sounds, how slow he's making Tommy take him breaking him down as much as it is Tommy, "I could make you stay."

Straining away from the brush of Adam's mouth near his, he forces out the sharp can't that's stuck in his throat. He doesn't know what he means, he can't take it, Adam can't make him stay, but there's no strength behind the claim. When Adam's fingers curl under his chin, hold him still for a kiss, he doesn't fight. For a split-second in the haze right before Adam shoves in that last little bit, fills him up completely, he knows exactly what he can't do. He can't fight Adam.

Adam doesn't give him time to collect himself. He's thankful for it, because all that's left for him then is to grab at the edge of the bed and hold on, be swept up and carried away in the rush of pleasure as Adam grinds into him. It doesn't stay slow for long, Adam's breaths heavy in his ear, mixing with his as they share sloppy, off-centre kisses, but it stays staggeringly sweet. Amazing in the way nobody means anymore, the way that leaves Tommy a gasping, stupefied mess as Adam's weight shifts, one hand reaching beneath him, jacking him off. He buries his face in the pillow again, honestly afraid of how he can't silence all the noise he's making as he comes, and maybe, if Adam didn't whisper soft, filthy praises in his ear, didn't tell him how beautiful he is giving in like this, he'd be embarrassed, too. But Adam is telling him all those things, and he keeps saying them long after Tommy's wrung out and exhausted and on edge because Adam's still fucking into him, rhythm going ragged when he gets close.

"Come on," Tommy says, rising up to meet him, clumsy at first and then taking over for the length of two glorious shaking heartbeats as Adam shudders, stills. In the third one after, Adam loses all control, his weight crushing Tommy into the mattress as he fucks desperately, the push and drag of his cock going wetter, slicker, obscene in the quiet lamplit dark. Tommy groans his name, groans anything and everything that crosses his mind as Adam keeps going, because it's so, so good and it's too much and he doesn't want it to ever stop.

Then Adam is calling him baby again, nudging him, quiet and unresisting, over onto his side. He's got nothing left in him except what Adam wants to give, and he's not surprised at all it's soft kisses that Adam uses to bring him back around. He blinks his eyes open, staring up at the bare rafters as Adam pulls away, then shifts his gaze to Adam's face. Bits of hair cling to Adam's forehead, dark with sweat, and without a thought Tommy reaches up to brush them back.

Adam turns to nuzzle his face into Tommy's palm. A harsh rasp, he says, "I can make you stay."

"You won't, though," Tommy says, and hopes like hell he's wrong. Never mind why Adam wants him to, or why he does, why it doesn't make any sense to want it so badly. Nothing much else in this world makes sense, either.

"You don't know me," Adam replies, pressing a gentle hand to Tommy's shoulder. He breathes a quiet noise in warning before he carefully withdraws. Tommy winces anyway at the slick pull, the soreness laced through the satisfaction, and rolls onto his back as Adam goes to the wash stand, filling the basin from a jug to wring up a cloth with a torn edge. He runs it cool and soothing down Tommy's chest, over his groin and lower, cleaning him. Tommy lets his legs fall open, watching Adam's hand where it's pressed between his thighs instead of Adam's face. "You don't know me at all."

That Tommy wants to know him is reason enough to go. But Tommy doesn't tell him that's why. Tommy doesn't say anything, and when Adam goes to wring up the cloth again, he slides off the bed to follow, taking the cloth from Adam's slack fingers. Cupping Adam's softened cock in one hand, Tommy wipes him clean, dips the cloth again and keeps going as water drops patter to the floor. One long kiss turns into two, more, endless kisses that make Adam sway on his feet, and he has to lean back against the vanity as he begins to thicken again, grow hot in Tommy's grasp.

"You don't know me, either," Tommy promises, "and this time I want to see your face when you fuck me."

Adam groans, defeated, and kisses Tommy like a man condemned.

*


Tommy snaps awake sprawled out halfway on top of Adam's naked bulk. Beneath him, Adam grumbles about bony knees in his balls and shifts, spilling Tommy back onto the bed and rolling over to smother him. Tommy gasps, kicks out, his ribs creaking as Adam's rumbling laughter sinks into his chest. "Bastard," Tommy mumbles, and shoves at him, hard.

Adam barely budges. "You spent half the night crushing my nuts," he says, not bothering to open his eyes as he cuddles closer. "You owe me an apology."

"I'll show you an apology," Tommy threatens, wriggling a chill hand under the blankets to grab Adam's half-hard dick.

Breath bursts out of Adam on a startled groan. "That's not as bad as you think it is," he claims, and Tommy doesn't buy it for one second until a hot rush of blood makes his cock jerk in Tommy's grasp. Far too smoothly for a man just awake, he rolls the rest of the way onto Tommy, rising up on his hands and knees. "But I think I want you to apologise with your mouth."

Flatly, Tommy says, "I'm sorry."

Crawling up Tommy's body, hands walking up the wall, Adam settles with his knees tucked under Tommy's arms, straddling Tommy's chest and his cock level with Tommy's lips. "Not what I meant."

"You could say please," Tommy suggests, eyeing Adam's cock as if his mouth didn't flood wet the second he figured Adam's aim.

"Please, Tommy Joe," Adam says, going for wry and missing by a mile, hitting honesty square on. He thumbs the corner of Tommy's mouth, parting his lips, sweeping across them. The second time he says please, it comes out rough, already ruined.

Tilting his chin, Tommy opens up in an invitation Adam doesn't take. Tommy swallows hard and struggles to sit up further as Adam rises up on his knees, to reach Adam's cock and take this last chance to find out what Adam tastes like, what it feels like to have Adam on his tongue.

Before Adam had fallen asleep last night, after he'd refused to let Tommy bunk downstairs, Tommy had said this was it. Today's the day he has to leave. When Adam hadn't argued, he'd thought he won. With Adam staring down at him now, eyes dark in the midmorning sun, he realises Adam hadn't given up, only switched tactics. There are a million other things Tommy wants, a million other last chances to take before he goes. A whole lifetime of them.

"You shit," Tommy says, meaning to push Adam back but ending up with his hand caught, pushed down to Adam's cock where his fingers don't need Adam's urging to wrap tight. "Playing fucking dirty."

Adam thrusts into the tunnel of their fists, head falling forward as he does it again, and then again before he manages to look up again. "I warned you," he says, and pushes Tommy's hand lower, guides it down between his legs. "I said I'd make you stay."

When Adam presses Tommy's fingers to his tight, dry hole, Tommy's throat clogs. Swallowing the thick lump blocking his airway doesn't make it any easier to breathe. Watching him, sly as a snake in the grass, Adam rocks down, pushes up, forces the tips of Tommy's fingers past that first soft clutch of muscle.

That the racket of raised voices comes then, along with an almighty banging on Adam's door, doesn't surprise Tommy in the least. He sags against the headboard as Adam snarls, "Fuck," and rolls up off the bed onto his feet, searching through the mess of their clothing for his jeans. Tommy closes his eyes and listens, heart sunk in a mire.

"This had better be fucking good!" Adam bellows as he thunders down the stairs, flings open the door. "Monte, what the hell?"

"Don't shoot the fucking messenger," Monte snaps. "We got another dust cloud coming up on the west. A fucking big one."

Scooting to the edge of the bed, Tommy calls, "That'll be for me."

A hush falls down below. Hauling on his jeans and not bothering with the buttons, Tommy makes for the stairs, pausing halfway down to slap his hands on the thick edge of the hole cut through the floor. "They're here for me," he repeats, ignoring the pointed look Monte throws Adam's way. "It's Saul Anderson, out of Nevada."

Adam sucks in a hissing breath. Monte says, "Fuck," low and quiet.

"I told you," Tommy says. "I shoulda left."

"Why is he after you?" Adam strides to the base of the stairs, one white-knuckled hand on the railing. "What does a scum runner like that have to do with you?"

"You know that fella who didn't like my face?" Tommy asks, and waits for Adam's terse nod. "That'd be his son."

Beneath sweet brown freckles, Adam goes pale.

Tiredly, Tommy says, "Yeah, s'about right. Monte, you think you could see your way to getting Bess saddled up? If they got something to chase, they'll leave you and yours alone."

"You're not something to chase!" Adam shouts, but Tommy's already turned his back to bound up the stairs. Shuffling through their discarded clothes, Tommy digs out Adam's undershirt, a soft white henley that settles warm and loose on his shoulders. He jams one corner of its hem haphazardly into his jeans, enough to sling his belt round his hips and not get in the way of a quick draw. The rest of his things he kept close to Bessie, too used to being on the run to risk leaving something important behind.

As soon as the thought hits, he stumbles to a halt at the top of the stairs. Squeezing his eyes shut, he breathes out evenly, back in nice and slow. Three days with a man he barely knows does not a new life make, and it'll serve him well to remember that.

Steady again, he heads down. Adam and Monte are gone, the front door left wide open. He has a handful of minutes at least before Anderson's gang find him, but he edges cautiously out into the sun anyway, wary of scouts sent ahead or a local looking to make a quick and dirty dollar.

Outside, barefoot in the dust, the marks Tommy left all over him bright and damning in the daylight, Adam stands facing the cloud rising up like a blight on the horizon. He turns at the grate of dirt beneath Tommy's boots, the sorrowful slant to his mouth hardening as he takes in the guns perched on Tommy's hips.

"God damn it," Adam snarls, two long strides closing the distance between them, and he keeps on coming, crowding Tommy back against rough, dry wood. Anger flares in his eyes hot as his lust last night when Tommy spits a curse. The one thing they don't have time for now is this, and Adam spits, "Tommy," right back at him, slams him back to the wall and pins him there with a forearm across his throat. "You're not leaving."

Fighting the urge to sink into Adam's hold, the urge to stop fighting for once and all, the best rebuttal Tommy's got to sling back in Adam's face is a shaky plea for him to back off. If all things were equal, Tommy would stay. Tommy would give anything to stay, find out if he honestly fits into the space he's found in Adam's town, at Adam's side. But the image he conjured up days ago of Jackson's bullet slamming into Adam's chest haunts him like a ghost, and he'd give more to never see that dark imagining come into the light of day.

Thumbing the hammer on his pistol, loud click-clack worse than a shot fired, Tommy forces the fear out of his voice. "Get off me, Sheriff."

"Or what?" Adam asks, soft as a whisper of cotton on skin. "Are you going to shoot me?"

"One in the foot won't kill you," Tommy says, words like cracked glass in his throat.

Adam leans in as if he's aiming for a kiss, and Tommy freezes, scared to death of what he'll do if Adam takes it. But Adam says, breath warm on Tommy's lips, "You come out here smelling like me, my shirt on your back, and you think I'm just going to let you go? I can still taste you, Tommy Joe. I've still got the fucking taste of you in my mouth, and you want me to pretend I don't care if I never get it again?"

"Don't." Even to Tommy's ears, almost lost the thundering pound of his heartbeat, it sounds weak.

"I'm not some noble man," Adam warns. "I'm not going to wait around like a fool hoping that if it's meant to be, you'll come back. I don't let go without a fight, and if you honestly want to leave, you're going to have to fight me, Tommy. Make me believe it."

"You don't even fucking know me."

"But I want to," Adam says, and this time there's a smile colouring his tone, because Tommy's hand isn't anywhere near his gun anymore, he wasn't ever going to use it, and that more than anything is all the answer Adam needs. Adam's arm slides away from Tommy's throat, becomes the light stroke of knuckles up over his jaw and into his hair. "That's reason enough."

Instead of closing the scrap of space left between them, instead of finally fucking kissing him again, Adam eases back. Tommy swallows hard, dizzied, and with a sinking heart realises the quaking ground beneath his feet isn't only in his head. Dust comes rolling in on the wind, blotting out the sun. He throws an arm up to protect his eyes and stands his ground, dread like standing at the head of his own grave rising up on the squeal of half a dozen hard-ridden horses, the thunder of their hooves.

"Will wonders never cease!" Saul Anderson calls over the ruckus, reigning in his slavering horse with a hard snap of leather. He leans an elbow on the pommel of his saddle. "I thought for sure and certain you'd be halfway to Boston by now."

Not willing to play this game, Tommy settles a hand on the butt of his revolver. "Say what you've come here for, Anderson, and be done with it already. There's a fine breakfast waiting for me."

"I 'spose Boston's a touch too far east for your tastes," Anderson goes on, same as if Tommy hadn't spoken a word, then, "there a fine woman waiting with that breakfast," before he pauses, both his gaze and a smarmy smile sliding Adam's way. "or that not to your taste, either?"

"Run your mouth all you like," Tommy says, letting the rage brew but keeping it packed down, under control--truth is truth, even from the devil's tongue. "But find somebody else's ear to bend. I'm not interested."

"Oh, I think you're plenty interested." Lifting a hand to hold his posse back, Anderson swings down to the ground and rests an arm on his horse's sweaty flank, fingers casually linked. The horse snorts, pawing the dirt, and Anderson's ugly smile grows. "Seems to me that's why you're hanging 'round this wretched piece of godforsaken real estate. C'mon, Ratliff, tell us how drunk y'had to get the sad fuck before he let you crawl on his dick."

A round of back-slapping guffaws go up. Anderson glances around, grinning like he's about to take a fucking bow. Snarling, "For fuck's sake," Tommy strides out into the sun. "Either shoot me or shut up, Anderson. If I'd known how scared of your own fucking shadow you are, I'd've hung around back in Bethalney after leaving your fella lying there in his own shit. Or has it taken you this long to work up the balls to tell me how bad you want one of my kisses before you're dead?"

"Fucking smart-ass little milksop," Anderson snarls, and the tension bunching Tommy's shoulder blades tight melts into a loose and easy stance. This part he knows as well as he knows the cool press of metal and ivory in the palm of his hand.

But Anderson is a fucking coward, and too late Tommy catches the signal he gives one of his posse, the shift in the guy's attention to Adam. No matter how good Tommy's gotten at hauling his own ass out of the fire, there are seven of them and one of him, and Adam, the fucking sheriff isn't even armed. Tommy's got two guns, sure, but going off one in each hand isn't anybody's game, not if they want to come out alive.

In the seconds before all hell breaks loose, Tommy thinks, sure and certain, I'm not the one I need to walk away still breathing.

Adam screams, "No!" and, "Monte!" all at once, and then it's nothing but dust and gunpowder in the air, shrill blast of screeching metal and horses and men. Tommy's shots aim true, one for Anderson and the other for the son of a bitch sighting down on Adam, and all the ones after take the same path as he darts straight into the chaos, a grim smile and another bullet for anybody thinking they're going to end Adam today.

A kick to the shoulder from a panicked horse numbs Tommy's arm all the way to his fingertips. One of his guns hits the dirt and he leaves it, his stomach churning. There's blood on his belly from a bullet wound, and he thinks it's more cotton than flesh torn, but it sure hurts like hell when he crumples behind Anderson's dead mount trying to get back to where he last saw Adam. When he'd bothered to consider it, he always thought his showdown with Anderson would be quick, easy. Turns out he's right about quick, but easy it ain't, and he'd never imagined this ringing in his ears, the sudden silence crashing down like a headsman's axe.

Dust clogs his mouth, his nose. He can't see shit. He stumbles to his feet, empty revolver clutched tight, and squints through the mess, the whole world swimming.

"Here!" somebody calls, and Tommy sways, aiming shakily at the shadow that comes rushing straight for him. "Jesus Christ, Tommy," Isaac says, half a foot to the left of Tommy's sight and swooping in to scoop Tommy's arm over his shoulders. "We thought the bastard got you."

"Didn't," Tommy says, pain jostling his tongue loose. "Fuck, maybe a little."

"Christ," Isaac repeats, and shoulders more of Tommy's weight, damn well drags him over to where Lisa's waiting with a pan of bloodied water and torn scraps of bandages.

"Adam?" comes tumbling unbidden out of Tommy's mouth, hardly more than a croak as Isaac dumps him on the ground. "Is he-"

"Over there," says Miss Camila, a smart-looking Colt flashing big and bright in her small hand as she gestures toward the old barn.

Heart clogging his throat, Tommy struggles to focus on the blurry shapes moving around where she pointed. He makes out Monte first, what's left of Anderson's posse roped up on the ground at his feet, and then finally Adam standing tall and beautiful and unharmed in their midst.

"Good Lord," Lisa says, pushing Tommy back down with one hand. "I'll get him for you. Let Cam tend that wound."

Dizzy with relief, Tommy nods, and wonders idly how ticked Adam would be if he took a quick catnap.

"Pretty fucking ticked," Adam says, and struggling to keep both eyes open, Tommy finds him down on knee beside him. "You might want to give it a shot anyway, though. Putting that shoulder back is going to hurt."

"Hurts already." Tommy shies away with a hiss from Miss Camila's prodding fingers. She shushes him with a look.

"Hurts worse than it is," Adam says, soft with relief. "You'll have Monte to thank for the scar. Took a few pellets to the side from him when you dove headfirst into hell, you crazy little shit."

Tommy can't help the grin that takes over his face. "Fuckers weren't expecting that."

"Full of the unexpected, aren't you, Tommy Joe," says Adam fondly, and Tommy's grin grows impossibly wider before the black swims up to drag him down.

*


It's late when Tommy comes round. He takes a slow, deep breath, letting the smell of Adam sunk into the pillow he's lying on chase away the hazy disorientation. It doesn't do much for the pain radiating all along his left side, but he'll take what he can get. He's not dead. In his book, any day he wakes up not dead is a good one.

While he's still thinking about passing out again, a rustling from the floor beside Adam's bed catches his attention. He shuffles over carefully, teeth gritted tight to hold back a pained hiss. The dark makes it hard to see, but he'd recognise the shadowed slope of Adam's shoulder anywhere, the quiet rhythm of his breathing. Resting his cheek on the back of his hand, Tommy settles back down, and doesn't get around to closing his eyes before Adam stirs long minutes later. The light of the waxing moon filtering in through the window is more than enough to show the slow curve of Adam's smile as his eyes open, and he pushes his hair out of his face. Quiet and happy, he says, "Morning, Tommy Joe."

"Morning, Sheriff," Tommy says, and then softer, "Adam."

"Before you ask, Anderson's dead."

Tommy's eyes slip shut. He takes a minute to let that settle in his head. For years Anderson's been out for his blood. That it's over doesn't seem real. "And the rest of 'em?"

"Trussed up out in the barn, with Monte and a few extra hands from town. Three dead, and the three left say they're paid hands with no interest in revenge. I believe them."

"Okay," Tommy says. Adam's word is good enough for him. "Alright then."

Blankets rustle as Adam sits up, scooting closer to fold his arms on the bed and rest his chin on them. He takes a breath as if he's about to speak, but lets it slip wordlessly free.

Mouth hitched up at one corner, Tommy says, "You're not going to ask?"

Adam's laugh is short, unsteady. "I think I'm afraid of what you'll say."

As Tommy rolls carefully over onto his back, sheets pushed down, he takes Adam's wrist, tugs. Adam hesitates for only a moment before climbing up, the jeans he bunked down in warm and rough on the outsides of Tommy's thighs as Adam straddles him, the pillow on either side of his head dented by Adam's weight balanced on the palms of both hands.

Fingertips tracing the muscle of Adam's forearm, it takes Tommy longer than it should to find his voice. When he does, it comes out scratchy, like he hasn't really used it for days, weeks. "You don't know me," he says, and loses his voice again, has to repeat himself before he can go on, "and you don't have to make me stay."

"Tommy," Adam says, but closes his mouth again fast, blowing out a sharp breath through his nose and shaking his head, meaning for Tommy to go on.

"I want you to let me stay." Sure he knows the answer he'll find on Adam's face, Tommy still can't bring himself to look. He's an outlaw. He's killed men and made no attempt to hide it. He doesn't belong here, but damn everything else to hell and back again, this is where he wants to be. "You better fucking let me stay, because I'm not going to let you run me out of town now."

"Try to leave," Adam promises, "and see how far you get."

*
End
Poor Boy, Minor Key

Date: 2011-02-27 01:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eloiserummaging.livejournal.com
This is great! Hot, love the characterizations (especially Tommy--how you worked in the make-up was great), love the setting. Awesome--as usual! :D

Date: 2011-02-27 01:53 am (UTC)
no_detective: (tommy pink - taxcha)
From: [personal profile] no_detective
OH, BLUE. THIS IS PERFECT. I am in awe - really, I can't even BEGIN to tell you how very perfect this is. :')

(Tbh, I just kinda tacked the roofie idea onto this plot because I have been DYING for someone to write me a Tommy Joe the Kissing Bandit fic, and then YOU DID. And have I mentioned it is PERFECT????)

I'm just gonna read this a whole bunch of times now, for the language and the fantastic tension and the MUSIC and the hotness, and just keep feeling like THE LUCKIEST FANGIRL IN THE GODDAMN WORLD. <33333333

Date: 2011-02-27 10:57 pm (UTC)
no_detective: (adam_tommy yellow kiss - taxcha)
From: [personal profile] no_detective
Okay, now that I've read it a few times, a few bits that jumped at me and got me to make extra-squeaky noises of delight:

The weight of the newcomer's attention settles on Tommy like a yoke. - that's visceral and stunning and sort of raw-physical. Love this line!

He turns back around, sliding his arms through the bars, hip cocked and ankles crossed. - in a fic full of gorgeous imagery, I LOVE this "scene" for the ease with which I could SEE IT when reading the description and how much characterization it carries in so few words. (There are quite a few such lines, btw, you smart person you.)

who stares so intently at him he feels like a broken watch needing to be pieced back together - oh, my HEAAAART. <3

Like this, with bare inches separating them, it'd be easy for Tommy to feel small, vulnerable. Adam's a tall, broad-shouldered man, and even if Tommy isn't weak by any means, Adam's got weight and leverage on his side. Of all the things Tommy's feeling, threatened sure as hell isn't one of them. - there are a few passages where you show him thinking strategically, like a man on the run, in terms of assessing threat and figuring out a fight strategy, but then the last line uncovers the emotion that the language is hiding. LOVE IT.

"Jesus," Tommy says, and downs the rest of his drink in one swallow. - ahahahaha, perfect setup for the first-time experience of performing on stage with Adam. And Tommy thought he would be the main attraction in that show, LOL!!!

His heart's going at a panicked gallop, adrenaline burning through his veins urging him to run, fight, do something. - oh my fucking GOD, this is so wild-hot. *dies*

"But I think I want you to apologise with your mouth."
Flatly, Tommy says, "I'm sorry."
- AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

There are a million other things Tommy wants, a million other last chances to take before he goes. A whole lifetime of them. - *whimper*

In the seconds before all hell breaks loose, Tommy thinks, sure and certain, I'm not the one I need to walk away still breathing. - *DOUBLE WHIMPER*

And that ending, holy shit. HEARTEYES FOR FUCKING EVER.

Thank you again, bb. This has become an instant favorite in any fandom I've ever read. You're BRILLIANT. <3333333333

Date: 2011-02-27 03:57 am (UTC)
etharei: A llama outlined by black text spelling 'Etharei' inside it, on a light green background. (Default)
From: [personal profile] etharei
*SQUEAK* *SQUEAK* *SQUEAK*

OMFG I LOVE THIS SO MUCH.

Tommy as a bad-ass outlaw but not really! Adam as the Sheriff with the heart of gold! A romantic Western with a shoot-out! I LOVE YOU LIKE BURNING WITH EXTRA JALAPENOS.

My favorite detail must be Tommy's makeup. A bullet and a kiss as a ~trademark - MOST AWESOME THING EVER. The imagery is gorgeous. EEEEEEEEEEEE \o/

Date: 2011-02-27 04:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hannab2.livejournal.com
Oh this was so gorgeous! I LOVE Western based stories with a modern twist and this fit the bill. Tommy's character was so endearing. I'm glad he found peace so he didn't have to continue to run. He was a little tough guy because he had to be but Adam brought out his true sweetness. Adam's easy smile brightened up the story and set the stage for the peacefulness of his town.

Everything about this story felt real and I could picture it all...the dust cloud that signified trouble, the tasty meals Lisa made, the sexual tension between Adam and Tommy, the injuries from the gunshots.

You're an amazing writer and I love all your stories so much!

Date: 2011-02-27 08:07 am (UTC)
nekofreak: (adam smirk by pfodge)
From: [personal profile] nekofreak
oh god this is *exactly* what i needed right now. also aljfskljfsdkl AWESOME!!!! i love every single fucking detail in here <3 *rolls all over this fic and you* <3!!

Date: 2011-03-01 05:29 am (UTC)
nekofreak: (adam smirk by pfodge)
From: [personal profile] nekofreak
aw you wrote for me?!? i'm so excited!!! it's ok if there are no presents, i just loved the idea and thought you would too ^^ *super smoosh*

btw you should totally offer to write for funds, lots of people do it and at least we know you crank out awesomeness! i'd buy a fic <3! *chews*

Date: 2011-02-27 02:08 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Oh yes, this is the fic I've been wanting to read since I saw the scruffy!Tommy pictures. Dellightful!!!!

Date: 2011-02-27 02:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aislinntlc.livejournal.com
Fantastic story. Your world building here is superb - I felt completely drawn into the old West, with the descriptions and the language the characters used, just everything about it. Tommy as unintentional outlaw was brilliant, especially with his signature kiss and scrappy survival instincts. Adam was perfect as sheriff, with his big stable presence, easy smiles, and intense focus on Tommy Joe. The secondary characters were great, and the way the story played out completely engaging. You never disappoint, and this was a great read!

Date: 2011-02-27 05:42 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
If there was Oscar for fic writers you would get one without a doubt <3 Everything you write is AMAZING!!! The way you write Adam and Tommy is just delicious, nom nom and unf every time :D

82beg on lj

Date: 2011-02-28 04:22 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Amazing.I don't know how you do it, but you create this incredible universe around them every SINGLE fucking time.You go from the mind fuck of the last story & the tangible creepiness, to this...a romantic western! And each time I get completely sucked in. And it's a shame that TommyJoe will never see this cause I think he'd get a kick out of his badass self...but porn, so we'll just have to appreciate it for him \O/

Date: 2011-02-28 06:04 am (UTC)
harpers_child: melaka fray reading from "Tales of the Slayers". (Default)
From: [personal profile] harpers_child
i barely know who these boys are but i read every story you write about them. they're funny and sweet and stubborn by turns but they always find each other and hold on tight as they can.

Date: 2011-02-28 09:06 am (UTC)
calystarose: Callisto from Xena & a rose (Default)
From: [personal profile] calystarose
oh this was just fantastic! I love the characterizations and the plot and the sex and the happy if somewhat beat up ending :D Just wonderful!

Date: 2011-02-28 09:25 am (UTC)
dr_schreaber: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dr_schreaber
I just want you to know that I've spent the last week finding and watching the 8th season of Idol, and I place the blame for that squarely on you. and adam's SPINE-MELTING SMILE, jesus god.

Also this is wonderful and amazing and brilliant etc etc YOU COULD WRITE THE PHONE BOOK AND IT WOULD BE FANTASTIC. as soon as I read "ambles" i was smiling, and that's like, the third word. *heart*

Date: 2011-03-01 01:47 am (UTC)
cephy: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cephy
Oh, I do love me a good AU. XD

...only partly related: was it you who recommended Gunless a while back?

Date: 2011-03-01 02:26 am (UTC)
dangerous_47: Stock pic. Female hands holding a mini-snowman. (Default)
From: [personal profile] dangerous_47
Damn. *____*

Awesome. \o/

Date: 2011-03-01 04:28 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] lalaynia
I loved this. Wonderful tension between Adam and Tommy, and Monty, Lisa, Cam and Isaac supported them well.

Thanks!
-Joan

Date: 2011-03-03 07:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hockeychick57.livejournal.com
i looooved this.

and this line:
"You come out here smelling like me, my shirt on your back, and you think I'm just going to let you go? I can still taste you, Tommy Joe. I've still got the fucking taste of you in my mouth, and you want me to pretend I don't care if I never get it again?"

:Q___________

Date: 2011-03-03 07:00 pm (UTC)
isweedan: A happy fic reader hugs an ALOT. "I like this fic alot" (I LIKE THIS FIC ALOT.)
From: [personal profile] isweedan
Fucking YES. That was so awesome.

Date: 2011-03-08 12:02 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Tommy Wayne! Love the Duke as much as TJR, since like I was 5. This was awesome. Bein' a proud Texan, the western world was a special treat. I still say ya could write Kermit/Darth Maul & make us love it. - RagMan RIP

from galen on LJ

Date: 2011-03-11 12:20 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
only just had the chance to read this and I have to tell you, it's one of the best I've read in this fandom, really well done. I hesitated, a western?, but, as I usually do, I read the first paragraph and was hooked, the quiet strength of Adam, the tough vulnerability of Tommy plus such a cool Monte. Perfect.

Re: from gaeln on LJ

Date: 2011-03-11 12:22 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
ooops, spelled my own freakin' name wrong, the subject line is now correct.

Date: 2011-03-14 05:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deliriousminuet.livejournal.com
Awesome, you really balanced poking fun at the genre and using it for sincere effect. If that makes any sense. And Tommy would love being an outlaw cowboy!

Date: 2011-05-26 10:59 am (UTC)
thraceadams: (Adam and Tommy chin pink)
From: [personal profile] thraceadams
So I FINALLY had time to read this and OMG LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVED this so much. Tommy in trouble even though he's not trying to be. Adam convincing him to stay in town by putting him in jail lOL. And oh not fighting fair either - that's always a good thing. Oh there should be more Western AU (and yes I read On the Lam :D )

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